Current Scheduling Status
Year(s) and type of review / ECDD meetings
Drug Class
ECDD Recommendation
Placed under surveillance
Recommendation (from TRS)
Substance identification
JWH-250 is chemically 2-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-(1-pentylindol-3-yl)ethanone.

Previous review
JWH-250 had not been previously pre-reviewed or critically reviewed. A direct critical review was proposed based on information brought to WHO’s attention that JWH-250 is clandestinely manufactured, poses an especially serious risk to public health and society, and has no recognized therapeutic use by any party. Preliminary data collected from the literature and from different countries indicated that this substance may cause substantial harm and that it has no medical use.

Similarity to known substances and effects on the central nervous system
JWH-250 shows low nanomolar binding affinity at CB1 and CB2 receptors and it also appears to show some slight selectivity towards the CB1 receptor. Its interaction with these receptor subtypes correlates with a psychopharmacological profile that is shared with delta-9-THC. While there were analytically confirmed cases of non-fatal intoxications, these also involved other confirmed synthetic cannabinoids. Detection of JWH-250 in instances of driving under the influence of the substance was also reported.

Dependence potential
There is some evidence to suggest that synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists may be able to produce tolerance and withdrawal symptoms when substance use is abruptly discontinued following regular use of high doses. Further detailed studies on these properties of JWH-250 are warranted.

Actual abuse and/or evidence of likelihood of abuse
Survey data indicate that JWH-250, like a range of other synthetic cannabinoids, shows THC-like effects in humans. In a WHO survey, 22 Member States confirmed that there was recreational/harmful use of JWH-250.

Therapeutic usefulness
JWH-250 has no recorded therapeutic applications or medical use.

The Committee noted the challenges associated with the evidence base concerning the substance. Of particular significance was the lack of analytically confirmed cases of non-fatal and fatal intoxications involving JWH-250. The Committee recommended that JWH-250 not be placed under international control at this time but be kept under surveillance.